Planning on running the Y’s Turkey Trot Charity 5K with your little one in a stroller? We’ve got some tips to help your family have the best experience possible! Here are a couple things to keep in mind for running and training with strollers.
Comfort! Make sure your little one is old enough that their neck can support their head to withstand any jostling and/or bumps in the road. Check the weather forecast before you head out, and remember that although you’ll be working up a sweat, you’ll child will be staying still and catching a cool breeze! Consider timing your run after your child’s meal so that they are content and maybe ready for a nap. Also, make your load a little lighter by packing a mini diaper bag for any “just in case” incidents.
Take care of yourself and be aware of your running form. There are different techniques for pushing a jogging stroller. Some people prefer to push with one hand on the handles and one hand free. Make sure to switch arms evenly. Others may push with both hands on the stroller. Finally, you may want to continuously push the stroller out from you and chase after it (the stroller’s wrist strap will prevent the stroller from getting too far too fast!). No matter how you push, remember to stay upright – not hunched over the handles.
Safety! Jogging strollers exist for a reason and safety is a big one. The special wheels help steady the stroller and offer a smoother ride for children. Make sure your jogging stroller has a wrist strap, so that in case of emergency, you’ll stay connected to your stroller. This is particularly important if you’re running downhill. Pay particular attention to the logistics of your running route – watch out for uneven sidewalks, traffic patterns and visibility. Finally, inspect your stroller, especially the wheels, before each run. Make sure the tires are properly inflated and not showing signs of wear and that there are no loose screws or missing parts.
Have fun! Running with a stroller is a great workout, and a great way for you to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule. It also shows children the importance of exercise, and is a great way for you to spend time together. Children love going for a ride, getting fresh air, and seeing new things while you get your workout in!
It is possible to make wise choices and eat a fairly healthy meal at fast food restaurants if you order carefully.
Instead of French fries or onion rings, order healthy side items like vegetables and fruits. Consider salads, apple slices, or carrots.
Select from the restaurant’s healthy menu, if available. Most chains have their menu online.
Order the smallest sandwich on the menu, or get the kid’s size.
Ask for grilled chicken instead of fried chicken in sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Ask for sandwiches without mayonnaise, sauces, or cheese.
Opt for low-fat or low-calorie sauces and dressings such as mustard, fat-free salad dressing, or salsa.
Order a main course salad, but be careful. Sometimes salads with a lot of high-fat meats and cheeses actually have more calories than a cheeseburger. When it comes to salad dressing, a little can go a long way, so use the smallest amount possible and always order it on the side.
Choose lean meats or veggies for subs; try the turkey or grilled chicken breast sub instead of a meatball sub.
For subs, ask that some of the bread be scooped out before it’s assembled and pile on fresh veggies.
Choose sugar-free drinks, such as water (best choice!), unsweetened tea, coffee, or diet soda.
New to running and not sure where to start? Here are a few tips!
Start out easy! If you’ve been working out for a couple of weeks, it’s ok to start running up to 3 days per week for 30-40 minutes. If you’re just starting out, begin with run/walks. Download a Couch to 5K program, or pick a few markers – mailboxes, light poles or road signs – along your route for intervals. Gradually increase your running time by adding one minute of running for every four minutes of walking. Remember to start easy and build running time slowly!
Start each run with a warm-up and a cool-down. These can be 5 minutes of walking, some dynamic stretching and plyometrics like high knees, butt kicks and walking lunges. Don’t forget to foam roll, too! These will help you avoid injury, especially when you’re just starting out.
Make a plan. Map out your runs for the week and schedule them on your calendar. By picking the day, time and duration, you’ll have a few things to look forward to each week. Need some help picking a plan? Try one of the free plans from runner and writer, Hal Higdon: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/50933/5K-Novice-Training-Program
Treat yourself…to new shoes! There’s not a lot of gear needed to start running, but you’ll want to make sure you have a good pair of shoes. Visit a specialty running store, like Charm City Run, or peruse an online buying guide like this one from Runner’s World: https://www.runnersworld.com/shoefinder to help you find what you need. Remember, above all else, your running shoes should be comfortable for the duration of your workouts.
Engage your brain. Download a new podcast or exciting playlist to entertain your brain, or grab your friends and family to catch up over a run!
Looking for more tips? Our Y Personal Trainers are well-versed and ready to help! Once you’re laced up and ready to go, remember…this will be fun!
Here’s how to put together good-for-you foods to make a satisfying and healthy lunch:
Put a healthy spin on the traditional sandwich. Use two pieces of thin, whole grain bread and include two ounces reduced-sodium lean turkey, hummus, spinach, bell pepper slices, and/or mustard. Add some carrot sticks and light ranch dressing on the side.
Mix together some cooked quinoa, rinsed and drained canned white beans, chopped bell pepper, carrots, and broccoli to make a whole grain and veggie salad. Toss with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add a nectarine or some grapes on the side and a small handful of dry roasted almonds, if desired.
Make a tuna salad with canned light tuna packed in water, light mayo, diced celery, lemon juice, and freshly ground pepper. Serve it over greens with an apple and peanut butter on the side.
Build a quick yogurt parfait with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, diced no-sugar-added canned pineapple, and a sprinkle of pecans to top it off.
Pack a cup of leftover chili or vegetable soup. Top it with some fresh tomatoes and nonfat plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
Fill a whole wheat tortilla wrap with rotisserie chicken, hummus, and greens. For more veggie goodness, add roasted or fresh pepper strips.
Pack a hard-boiled egg, a piece of fruit, a string cheese stick, and five whole wheat crackers. And bring as many carrot or celery sticks as you like!
Throw together a salad with romaine lettuce or spinach and any other non-starchy vegetables that you like. Top with some grilled chicken, feta cheese, a sprinkle of chopped nuts, and a tablespoon of light salad dressing.
Practice makes perfect, right? So it makes sense that to get better at running, you need to keep running. While consistency is important, we sometimes get bogged down in following our training plans to a “T” and get burned out. One of the best, and often overlooked, ways to fight burn out (and, spoiler alert! get better) is to cross-train!
Wait, do something other than run? YES!
Luckily, at the Y, there are tons of fun ways to cross-train. You can take a class – Body Pump, cycle, HIIT, step, Pilates, TRX, just to name a few. If classes just aren’t for you, that’s not a problem. Cross-training also includes all types of activities like swimming, basketball, pickleball and weight training. Another option is to try out a different cardio machine. With our selection of Expresso bikes, Arc Trainers and StepMills, we’ve got something for everyone!
All it takes is two cross-training sessions per week, and you’ll be on your way to being a well-rounded runner. Don’t forget to stretch (ps- try a yoga class!). Visit ymaryland.org for the full schedule of classes!
If you are training for the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K or any fitness event, nutrition plays a large role in your recovery, progress and overall health. One simple (and affordable) step to better health is to bring a good-for-you lunch from home. Here’s how:
On the weekend, decide what you will eat for lunch for the week and add it to your grocery list. That way, it’s quick and easy to grab healthy choices when you pack your lunch.
Consider batch-cooking on the weekend. Make a big pot of chili, soup, or a big bowl of whole-grain and veggie salad. These will keep for a few days in the fridge and can be eaten throughout the week for lunch.
Take five minutes every night (or morning) to pack something healthy for the day.
Use portable containers—such as a lunchbox, thermos, and various containers with tight-fitting lids—to pack and take your healthy lunch. Extra-small containers come in handy for single servings of peanut butter or salad dressings.
Remember food safety—if you don’t have access to a refrigerator to store your lunch, insert a cold pack into the lunch box and be sure to choose foods that will stay fresh and yummy from the time you pack them until it’s time to eat lunch.
For days you can’t pack lunch, keep some non-perishable healthy options at your desk, such as light tuna in water, whole wheat crackers, no-sugar-added canned fruit, popcorn, and nuts.
You’ve probably heard a lot about foam rolling lately. Now that you’re training for a 5k, you’re probably wondering if you should be foam rolling, too. Yes, you should! Foam rolling doesn’t take as long as you might think. They key is to find your tender spots and hold the position for 30-60 seconds to create the muscle release. That’s it? That’s it! Foam rolling can be done as part of your workout warm-up and cool down. Using the foam roller during a warm-up helps stimulate blood flow; during the cool down, foam rolling helps flush out toxins, aiding in recovery.
There are many different types of foam rollers available. Some look like a big log or a fat pool noodle and others are handheld, resembling batons. You should aim to spend about 5 minutes foam rolling per day and the most common muscles to foam roll include quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and your IT (Iliotibial) Band. For video demonstrations, try this guide from Runner’s World.
Many Y Personal Trainers are knowledgeable on the topic and many of our centers have an array of foam rollers for you to try!
New to running or want the encouragement of a group? Register now for one of our Y 5K Training Programs! Starting mid-September and meeting weekly, our 5K Training program will help prepare you for the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K or any other event this fall!
Registration is $40 per member. And if you’d like to get the whole family involved, we are also offering a number of Family 5K Training Programs open to youth aged 8 and up with a parent. Register the whole family for $70 (includes as MANY family members as you’d like). Non-members rates available.
For more information please contact your local Y Center.
My name’s Robyn, and I work at the Y in Central Maryland. I recently moved here from Australia: you know, the land of terrifying spiders and Hugh Jackman. Now, between the blue claw crabs, the Chincoteague oysters, and ‘dem O’s… (see dorky picture) I’ve fallen in love with all things Charm City, including the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K! And—like this year’s summer—the trot’s coming in hot (in the land down under that means really big), and we want you to join in on the fun!
Registration for the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K opens on September 1. With seven locations in Central Maryland, our 5K is perfect for anyone looking for:
an active morning of fun the whole family can enjoy;
the opportunity to slip in a cheeky 5K run before the weather turns frosty;
a way to (semi) guilt-proof your Thanksgiving meal;
a non-ironical way to wear that turkey hat hiding in the back of your closet (you know the hat we’re talking about);
a tangible way to raise funds for children and families in Central Maryland who live in poverty.
While you’re waiting, why not let your friends and family (and your old college roommate) know on Facebook that you’re going? It’ll just take a click!